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DATE=6/26/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-251141 TITLE=ZAMBIA / TALKS (L-ONLY) BYLINE=JOHN PITMAN DATELINE=LUSAKA, ZAMBIA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT FREDERICK CHILUBA SAYS TALKS AIMED AT SECURING A CEASE-FIRE IN CONGO-KINSHASHA WILL REQUIRE MORE TIME. SPEAKING TO REPORTERS SATURDAY, MR. CHILUBA SAID THE TALKS ARE GOING SMOOTHLY, BUT HAVE NOT YET PRODUCED AN AGREEMENT. HE SAYS THE SIGNING CEREMONY SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL AN AGREEMENT IS REACHED. V-O-A'S JOHN PITMAN HAS DETAILS FROM THE ZAMBIAN CAPITAL, LUSAKA. TEXT: IN A BRIEF NEWS CONFERENCE (ON SATURDAY), PRESIDENT CHILUBA SAID HE REMAINS CONFIDENT THE CEASE-FIRE TALKS UNDERWAY HERE IN LUSAKA WILL PRODUCE A WORKABLE AGREEMENT. HOWEVER, HE SAYS TECHNICAL EXPERTS FROM THE WARRING SIDES DID NOT COMPLETE THEIR WORK IN TIME FOR A PEACE SUMMIT THAT WAS TO HAVE BEEN HELD ON SATURDAY. MR. CHILUBA SAYS THE TECHNICAL EXPERTS WILL CONTINUE THEIR TALKS BEFORE HANDING THE CEASE-FIRE DOCUMENTS OVER TO REGIONAL FOREIGN AND DEFENSE MINISTERS FOR FINAL CONSULTATIONS. SEVERAL OF THE MINISTERIAL-LEVEL DELEGATIONS HAVE ALREADY ARRIVED IN ZAMBIA, BUT IT REMAINS UNCLEAR WHEN THEY MIGHT BEGIN THEIR WORK. MR. CHILUBA DID NOT OFFER ANY DETAILS ABOUT WHEN HEADS OF STATE WOULD COME TO ZAMBIA FOR A SIGNING CEREMONY, BUT HE SAYS IT IS POSSIBLE THE (FOREIGN AND DEFENSE) MINISTERS COULD START THEIR TALKS AS EARLY AS SATURDAY NIGHT. /// CHILUBA ACT /// THE OFFICIALS' MEETING IS PROCEEDING EXTREMELY WELL AND HOPING TO END TODAY. MINISTERS WILL TAKE OVER. WHEN THEY DO FINISH, THAT IS WHEN THE SUMMIT IS GOING TO BE ON. SO I CAN'T TELL YOU THIS MORNING OR THIS AFTERNOON, BUT THIS WILL DEPEND ON WHAT OUR MINISTERS ARE GOING TO DO. /// END ACT /// MR. CHILUBA'S ANNOUNCEMENT CAME AS NEGOTIATORS STRUGGLED TO AGREE ON SEVERAL FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES, SUCH AS THE STATUS OF FOREIGN TROOPS IN CONGO AFTER A CEASE-FIRE, AND THE POSSIBLE DEPLOYMENT OF INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPERS. // OPT // PRESIDENT LAURENT KABILA HAS DEMANDED THE IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF ALL FOREIGN TROOPS BACKING THE REBELLION. HOWEVER, THE REBELS' MAIN SUPPORTERS, RWANDA AND UGANDA, HAVE ARGUED FOR A SIMULTANEOUS WITHDRAWAL OF THEIR TROOPS AND THE ZIMBABWEAN, ANGOLAN AND NAMIBIAN SOLDIERS WHO ARE BACKING MR. KABILA. // END OPT // SOURCES CLOSE TO THE TALKS SAY NEGOTIATORS WERE ALSO HELD UP BY INTERNAL DIVISIONS AMONG THE REBELS, WHO ARE SPLIT INTO THREE FACTIONS. // OPT // THERE IS ALSO GROWING CONCERN THAT CONTINUED FIGHTING NEAR THE CONGOLESES CITY OF MBUJI-MAYI COULD COMPLICATE THE TALKS. MBUJI-MAYI IS THE CAPITAL OF CONGO'S DIAMOND-PRODUCING REGION, WHICH ACCOUNTS FOR MOST OF THE KINSHASA GOVERNMENT'S REVENUE. THE REBELS SAY THEIR FORCES ARE WITHIN 100 KILOMETERS OF THE CITY, WHICH HAS BEEN HEAVILY REINFORCED IN RECENT DAYS BY MR. KABILA'S ALLIES. // END OPT // STILL, DESPITE AN INCREASING FLOW OF REPORTS SUGGESTING THE TALKS MAY NOT BE PROCEEDING AS SMOOTHLY AS ANTICIPATED, ZAMBIAN OFFICIALS AND OTHERS INSIST THE NEGOTIATORS ARE MAKING PROGRESS. SALIM AHMED SALIM, THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE 0RGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY, DOWN-PLAYED THE DECISION TO POSTPONE SATURDAY'S SUMMIT. SPEAKING AFTER MR. CHILUBA, HE SAID THE JUNE 26TH DATE WAS MORE OF A GUIDELINE THAN A DEADLINE, AND THAT THERE IS NO POINT IN HAVING THE HEADS OF STATE COME TO LUSAKA UNTIL AN AGREEMENT HAS BEEN FINALIZED. /// SALIM ACT /// PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY NEGOTIATING. FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THIS CRISIS BEGAN, WE HAVE ALL THE PARTIES INVOLVED IN THE NEGOTIATIONS. THEY'VE BEEN DISCUSSING IN THE DAYTIME, THEY'VE BEEN DISCUSSING AT NIGHT. AND CLEARLY, IN A CONFLICT LIKE THIS, YOU DON'T EXPECT THAT ALL OF A SUDDEN, EVERYTHING WILL BE SOLVED. /// END ACT /// WHEN ASKED WHEN HE THOUGHT THE FINAL SUMMIT AND SIGNING CEREMONY MIGHT BE HELD, MR. SALIM SAID IT COULD BE SEVERAL DAYS AWAY. (SIGNED) NEB/JP/ALW/WTW 26-Jun-99 11:01 AM EDT (1501 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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